How to stop pleasing everyone and say “no”

2 conversations 4 minute read

A while ago, after a successful yearly review, my boss said to me:
“I like you because you make my life easier.”
That stunned me for a while.

On first read, that’s a nice compliment.

However, we should look at it from a bit different perspective, as at that moment it meant:

“I like you because you do everything I ask you to.”

Ok, but why a different perspective?

Because I realized that it didn’t lead to anything. I took care of my part of the job. But for a few years now, I have been doing a lot of his part of the job, as well as other not-so-small things as a gesture.

I reached a point in my life where:

  • I was handling almost everything in that business
  • Coaching teams was part of my job
  • Taking care of schedules was my responsibility
  • PR handling was on me, too
  • New product launches etc. were assigned to me by default

And on top of that, I was trying to fit in even more things. Being a good wife and a supportive, caring friend, for example.

All of this made me push myself into a corner where saying “no” to someone made me feel like I was a bad person.

Which, you guessed it, right:

It is not a very sustainable way of living your life.

TL;DR:

In this article you will learn how to say “no” and why it is important.

  1. Why saying “no” is important.
  2. My story.
  3. 5 ways to learn how.

Check how to do that below:

Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t mean you betray someone, and it doesn’t look like you’re slacking at work.

It’s a simple way of setting a boundary that protects your mind, soul, and heart. It means you value yourself and your time.

My boss’ compliment was like a nail put straight through my heart. It made me think about something I had never thought about before.

I’ve become a people pleaser, and it hurt me physically, mentally, and as a normal human being.

Never Productive Saying No

And that’s when I saw a video on how to say “no” that changed my life.

So today, I will share my key takeaways from it. I hope they will be an eye-opener for you the same way they were for me.

  1. “Find your own limits. Don’t compromise!”
    In certain situations, people will feel your “no” coming. They will ask for small and “easy” commitments leading to what they want. It’s a great strategy – they get you to say “yes” a few times, and you end up doing what you said “no” to or doing like 80% of it.
    So, to avoid that from happening – you need to know what you don’t want to do. Figure that out without pressure before the actual discussion. Know your limits and make sure even compromises don’t make you cross your limits.
  2. “Know what you value.”
    If anyone wants to “ask” you to do something, they probably need something from you. You need to know what that is. You might be much more important than you think. You might be the only person who can do that thing.
    You need that information for any negotiation. If you’re the only person that can handle tough customers, it will be better to let Greg handle night shifts. It’s also less dangerous for the business to lose Greg than to lose you.
  3. “Think about ways to sweeten the deal.”
    What can you offer that costs you next to no time and energy, but the other person would value? Knowing that will make the “no” hurt a lot less for the other person and, in turn, make it much easier for you to say it.
  4. “Roleplay the situation”
    Find a friend and have some fun. Just going through the motions will help you relax when you’re faced with the real thing. It’s also a great practice to see how these interactions can develop.
  5. “Take a breather.”
    If saying “no” gets super-hard, you can hit “pause” on the discussion.
    Don’t let other people pressure you into any commitments.
    Be firm but kind and ask for a few minutes or a few days to think things through. To make this easier, I’ve compiled a list of example things you can say in that kind of a situation:
  • “Wow, this is a tough decision. I would like to take a few minutes (or days) in the end to think this through. I don’t want to give you a half-hearted emotional answer. Thank you for your understanding!”
  • “That’s a difficult question. I’ll need to think this through. Thank you for your patience, and let’s talk again tomorrow.”
Never Productive Saying No

In conclusion:

Breaking free of people-pleasing is liberating, but it doesn’t come without a cost. It’s not easy, and we can’t completely get over it. This habit emerges from within our deepest thoughts. And mostly – from our fear.

Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves to try and find a way to get past it.

Because being able to say “no” means, we’ve created a more efficient and vibrant nuance for others to see us in. It means we know our value, and we’ve established a better inner connection.

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matthew h jasmin
matthew h jasmin
21 days ago

Absolutely wonderful article.
One I personally needed to find and keep close.
Thank You

Jordan
Admin
Reply to  matthew h jasmin
21 days ago

Thank you for reading <3

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